Karen Pinchin

Stories by Karen Pinchin

  • Flying in the Belly of the Blimp

    It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a … dirigible? Zeppelin NT is now offering scenic rides over southern Germany. Floating serenely over forests and lakes, the aircraft delivers a taste of the romance and luxury enjoyed a century ago by transatlantic air barons. It carries just 12 people, is kept aloft by nonflammable helium and sports giant picture windows that offer breathtaking 360-degree vistas. As long as a Boeing 747, the mammoth ship lifts off from Friedrichshafen, the lakeside town where Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin invented his famous flying machine in 1900. A "Diamond" flight tour includes three nights at a four-star hotel in nearby Meersburg, all meals, a 90-minute flight and tours of the Zeppelin hangar and museum. The company also runs spectacular day and night flights over Tokyo, with tours of London and San Francisco planned for this year or next. For guilt-free cruising, the company will even offset your carbon emissions (€1,475 per person for the Diamond tour;...
  • Styling in the Rain

    Spring showers may be on their way, but that doesn't mean we need to dress to match the drear. Burberry encourages customers to face the rainy season head-on in its dazzling gold double-breasted leather trench coat ($2,495; burberry.com). Or for an extra candy-colored pop, Versace's incandescent bubblegum pink, thigh-skimming trench features a reflective silver belt buckle and embossed buttons ($2,740; neimanmarcus.com). For a more Catherine Deneuve look, try popping the collar on a deep violet Kilmuir coat from the heirloom Scottish rainwear brand Mackintosh, made from a watertight and super-lightweight Japanese fabric ($895; mackintoshrainwear.com). And women needn't have all the flair; men tired of khaki will stop traffic in the crimson double-breasted inspector's coat by 3.1 Phillip Lim ($750; barneys.com).For those tempted to spin around a lamppost and sing in the rain, a custom-made umbrella from Swaine Adeney Brigg (which also supplies Prince Charles with his favorite silver...
  • The Maximalist

    When platinum just isn't enough, the diamond-encrusted Dubai First Royale credit card can deliver any good or service imaginable. Available by invitation only and hand-delivered to the front door, it comes with a personal lifestyle manager who can book private planes, land invites to exclusive parties and arrange to have the dog walked. No purchase, no matter how extravagant, will ever be denied. And for those wondering where to purchase a horse, it also comes with an equestrian concierge service ($2,000 annually; dubaifirst.com).
  • Building A Faster Internet

    A conductor in Tokyo moves his baton, and an orchestra in Cleveland starts to play. A few bars later, a violinist in Berlin joins in. To compensate for a slight delay, the musicians play along with an electronic metronome. The performance is broadcast on high-fidelity speakers and high-definition television. Such a musical experiment would be challenging enough for a television network to pull off; over the Internet, it would be impossible.That may soon change. Engineers are developing a new type of Internet connection called a dynamic-circuit network that could carry so much data so quickly it might startle even Net surfers in Japan or South Korea. If all goes to plan, the vast data speeds required for such a collaboration may soon be available to all. That might go a long way to solving the problem of how to handle the enormous growth in Internet traffic, which by some estimates is doubling each year.When a digital photo, YouTube clip or live streaming video is sent over the...
  • Why U.S. Likes Big Cars

    The small-car craze might be fine for Asia and Europe, but the land of the gas-guzzling behemoth SUV may never go along, says a leading anthropologist.